It is helpful to consider closure as, in effect, a mini-project, and to plan for it as a distinct set of activities. We have seen that, once the project has been recognised as successful and all of the key milestones have been achieved, reaching the final milestone – closing the project – can seem an anticlimax. One way to focus attention on the work that still needs to be done is to prepare a detailed checklist.
Note the key headings that you think should feature on a project closure checklist.
Your list might include key deliverables, and checking that all the associated tasks had been completed to ensure that the purpose of the project had been achieved. Another main heading might include the ‘housekeeping’ elements: completing financial records, and any outstanding matters relating to staff and to the materials and equipment used. There could also be headings to remind you to stop all activities, supplies and processes related to the project; and to determine who should carry out each task, identifying the date by which it should be completed.
Like all aspects of managing a project, management of the closure can be planned, and the tasks can be delegated. A detailed list of closure tasks will be even more useful if it has columns showing who is responsible for each task, and the dates by which actions can be started and should be completed. There may be a need for scheduling, even at this stage, to ensure that tasks are sequenced and prioritised appropriately. Each project will have different requirements, but closure lists are likely to include all or most of the following:
handover complete for all deliverables;
all deliverables as accepted signed off by client or sponsor;
final project status reports complete;
all financial processes and reports complete;
project review complete;
staff performance evaluations and reports completed;
staff employment on project terminated;
all supply contracts and processes terminated;
site operations and accommodation used for project closed down;
disposal of equipment and materials;
announcement of completion of project (internal, external and public relations contacts);
completion and storage of project file.
If the manager of the project moves on to another assignment before all these tasks are complete, a list showing appropriate responsibilities will provide a framework for effective completion.